A Swiss court has blocked the extradition to Germany of an alleged regional leader of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), ruling that German authorities had not made enough of a case against the man, who belongs to a group that is not banned in Switzerland.This content was published on June 4, 2020 - 13:56
The PKK, which has waged an insurgency against the Turkish state since 1984, is designated a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.
The man, a Turkish citizen whose identity was not revealed in the Federal Criminal Court verdict released on Thursday, had fought extradition since his arrest at Zurich airport last November on an international warrant.
Because the PKK is not outlawed in Switzerland, the court examined whether he would have faced similar Swiss charges for his actions, which allegedly included spreading propaganda and recruiting fighters in 2014.
It found a lack of evidence that he supported a criminal organisation, a crime that would have justified sending him to Germany to face trial.
If he was recruiting fighters, the court said, it was likely that they were to fight Islamic State jihadists in Kurdish areas of Syria or Iraq rather than to attack Turkish targets.
It ordered the man to be released from custody and awarded him CHF2,000 Swiss ($2,080) in compensation.
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